Debian Weekly News - July 2nd, 2002

Welcome to this year's twentyfifth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. We are happy to learn that UnitedLinux will apparently be based on the Debian distribution, since Ex-CEO of Caldera, Ransom Love, will be trying to find a way to include members such as Debian, which don't have the commercial focus of the current UnitedLinux partners -- and to us this looks like the only logical way.

HomePNA HOWTO with Debian GNU/Linux. On Debian Planet, Jeremy Avnet posted a link to a HOWTO that describes how to set up HomePNA with GNU/Linux. HomePNA is a technology that uses the unused pairs on a plain old analogue line (or in fact a cat 5 cable), as a relatively slow networking system.

More than 10,000 Debian Packages for Sid. Recently, the number of Debian packages for Sid (also known as "unstable") has reached the 10k mark. The binary-i386 distribution contains 6961 packages and binary-all adds 3149 packages to the list. They are built from 6345 source packages. These numbers include non-US as well as non-free and contrib. If you use dselect method, the message, "Information about (the number of packages) was updated", shows up after [U]pdate. When you are familiar with apt, apt-cache stats shows the number of package in the package database on your system.

Security Updates for Woody. Some of you may have noticed already that the Security Team is already supporting Woody in their advisories. Apparently the new security build structure is working properly. In order to use the updated packages automatically, you should add deb woody/updates main contrib non-free to your sources.list if you are running Woody.

Java Beans for Debian People. Adam Heath announced that he finished building Debian packages of JBoss. All changes left are just minor bug fixes. This is an implementation of Sun's Java2 Enterprise Edition EJB specification. It provides container based persistence, message queues, transaction management and other services. While JBoss itself is GPL, it requires non-free software to run. JBoss developers, in order to provide an easier to run download, have elected to include these non-free programs and libraries with their source. Because of this, Adam has placed the files in the non-free directory.

Newer Versions of Perl Modules? Ardo van Rangelrooij wanted to know how a package maintainer is supposed to handle the case when a Perl module requires a newer version of another module than the version included in the perl-modules package. This package contains modules from the core Perl distribution. The solution is to simply package the new module as usual. The files will be placed in a directory which is preferred over the system provided one, so both modules can coexist.

Pilot Sync Software Recommendation. A question came up asking which software for synchronizing data on the handheld with the main machine should be used, if one depends on data integrity. Karl Jørgensen summarized his experience with pilot-manager, gnome-pilot and jpilot. People seem to be happy with jpilot. For those who don't require a graphical user interface, coldsync may be worth a try.

Daily Debian Snapshots. Fumitoshi Ukai (鵜飼文敏) set up a new host called that contains both a debian and debian-non-US mirror. The server has a 160 GB hard disk and provides daily snapshots of the Debian archive dating back from 2002/06/04. To access this repository you'll have to direct apt-get to a specific date, relative dates are ok.

Abandoning /etc/mtab? Nikita Youshchenko made an attempt to remove /etc/mtab and link it to /proc/mounts. However, it was made clear very quickly that one file reflects the users point of view and the other file reflects the kernel's point of view. For example, bind mounts, loopback mounts and disk quotas are displayed differently.

Red Hat using Debian alternatives. After reading the release notes of Red Hat Linux 7.3, Tollef Fog Heen reported, that this distribution includes a port of the Debian alternatives system, as a way to support multiple packages providing a particular service. Wichert Akkerman explained, that he's talking with Red Hat about keeping these two implementations in sync.

Is Linux really Free Software? In his talk during this year's Ottawa Kernel Summit Bdale Garbee raised the question, whether Debian violates its Social Contract by shipping the Linux kernel? This issue reflects the inclusion of proprietary firmware in a number of device drivers. The consensus during his talk was that this problem would be best discussed and investigated on the debian-legal list, where he is seeking assistance.

HTTPS Method for apt-get. Tomas Pospisek announced https support for apt-get. He implemented it as patch against version 0.5.4 of apt, which is the current version in Woody. The upstream developer, however, has some reservations against including pieces of stunnel.

dpkg 1.10 released. Finally a new version of dpkg made it into the archive. This is a long awaited upload which also closes no less than 63 open bugs. It contains several improvements, like a split off dselect package with improved handling of Recommends and Suggests. It also understands a per-user configuration file. The entire list of changes is impressive, you shouldn't forget to read it.

Debian in SpamCop's List. We have recently been informed that is listed in SpamCop's database. Marco d'Itri noted that this database has to be used with special care because mailing lists are routinely blocked by it.

Final Bits for DebConf2. Joe Drew released the final announcement covering the upcoming Debian Conference 2 which will take place from July 5th to 7th in Toronto, Canada. In addition to the Debian-specific talks which make up the majority of the program, there are several non-Debian related. Among these is Damian Conway, a well-known speaker and Perl developer will give a talk entitled with Extreme Perl.

Another Potato Update on the Way? Joey sent in a report about the current work done for another update (r7) to the stable Debian release (also known as Potato). Even though Woody will probably be released soon, Potato is still supported and received a couple of security updates that should be addressed properly.

Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update your systems if you have any of these packages installed.

After heated debates resulting from the OpenSSH vulnerability, we'd like to mention a small quote from the Revised OpenSSH Security Advisory: The most helpful vendors were OpenWall Linux and Debian.

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the Debian archive recently or contain important updates.

Orphaned Packages. Five packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 84 orphaned packages. Many thanks to the previous maintainers who contributed to the Free Software community. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list, and please add a note to the bug report and retitle it to ITA: if you plan to take over a package.

Seen something interesting? Please drop us a note whenever you see something noteworthy that you think is appropriate for inclusion in DWN. We don't notice everything, unfortunately. Of course, we are also thankful for completely written items from volunteer writers. Please see the contributing page. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Yooseong Yang and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.